Is my tank cycling? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-17-2011, 10:58 AM Thread Starter
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Is my tank cycling?

Hi forumers!

A little over a week ago I got a new small fluval edge. I'm planning on moving my RCS over from another tank into it when it's ready. Because I want my shrimps in there, I can't get any fish to help get the cycling process moving, though once the shrimps are gone, I will be putting fish into the larger tank.

So what I've done so far in the new tank is add gravel, and some plants (pennywort and UG) in there, and I've added water conditioner, and sera nitrivec. It's been running for about 10 days now. I dose daily with the cheap knock-off version of flourish excel, Easycarbo, (cos I can't get excel here in Switzerland) to help the plants not die. When I first planted the tank I added some Tetra Plantamin. I've also added a tiny pinch of Shirakura chi ebi (baby shrimp food in powder form) twice so far. Apart from the above, all I've done is top up the water from evaporation. Waiting for new lights to drive from ebay and hoping my plants don't melt away before they arrive. I've been testing my water every few days but nothing has changed since I started the tank and I'm beginning to wonder if the tank is cycling at all.

After the first 3-4 days I noticed a fuzzy slimy growth on the gravel and near the plants... it was clearish/grayish, but I thought it might be from the shrimp food so i left it alone and it's now gone. Does that mean anything?

Also, while waiting for a tank to cycle, should I be doing weekly water changes as with a regular tank or should I be leaving it completely alone to do its thing?
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-17-2011, 12:10 PM
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For a tank to cycle, there has to be a source of ammonia. This can be either pure ammonia (from a bottle) or something has to be decomposing in the tank. The tiny pinches of shrimp food, plus slowly decomposing plant leaves, will do the trick, but you can speed up the process a bit by adding some more shrimp or fish food. That said, this first section is the longest - the one wherein you're waiting for a measurable amount of ammonia to be converted into nitrites. Give it time.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-17-2011, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
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So my plant leaves melting away due to insufficient light is actually a good thing right now? I'll add food more often too then. I just thought since there was no change in the water parameters even though it's almost 2 weeks now, was just a little weird. I considered getting some celestial pearl danios, so there would be a little more waste production and when I moved the shrimps they weren't likely to get eaten... but I guess I just need to be more patient. Besides they're expensive here and I don't know how they'd do in a cycling tank. I've never cycled a tank without any fish before. All the LFS tell you to add a few fish after 3 - 4 days... and that's what I've always done... but with the fluval edge, they're gonna be hell to get back out once inside! LOL
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-17-2011, 03:46 PM
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2 weeks is still far off. A sign of fully cycled tank is crystal clear water, IMO. If your water aint crystal, it aint completely cycled (rough measure).

Safe period is 1 month, with fish in. danios are great tank cyclers.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-17-2011, 04:35 PM
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I'm just finishing up a fishless cycle and it took a full month starting with a seeded filter.

fishless cycle

2500g koi pond, 56g community tank, 29g community tank
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-17-2011, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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Well the water is cloudy right now because I just added a dose of Sera Nitrivec, which is a milky liquid.... but yesterday it was clear, and like I mentioned in the original post, the water parameters have remained exactly the same as when I started the tank... which was why I was wondering if it was cycling... but perhaps without fish or a seeded filter, the cycle hasn't started at all.

If I get fish to help cycle the tank I need to pick ones that I would want to keep and transfer to the old tank when I'm done cycling and moving the shrimps.

doncityz, You say danios are good cyclers... How about Celestial Pearl Danios (aka galaxy rasboras)? Are they any good?

junko, wow 1 month... Must... have... patience...
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-17-2011, 08:01 PM
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It all depends on how you want to cycle your tank. Cycle refers to the nitrogen cycle where ammonia (the primary waste of fish) is converted by bacteria to nitrites, and the nitrites are converted to nitrates by a second bacteria. The bacterial colonies have to establish and once they can convert ammonia effectively to nitrates, the tank is "cycled". The initial ammonia source has to come from somewhere, either fish or rotting food and plants or just plain liquid ammonia. (I personally used this as I didnt want to worry about daily water changes to keep the ammonia level safe for fish in the water). The bacteria is already around, just not in any helpful amount and you have to feed the bacteria to get the cycle going. Read the article that was posted above for more advice, but your tank will not be cycled until ammonia that is either from fish or "fed" by other means is effectively converted to nitrates which can take a month or so depending on how its done. You know it is effectively converted when you see no ammonia when testing and no nitrites, but do see nitrates.... usually it ends up being high at the end of a cycle, ~40ppm or higher and water changes will help lower this number to fish and shrimp safe ~20 or less.
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